Oriental fruit flies detected in South Africa
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) issued a statement confirming the disease.
The government stated that they have been carrying out various tests since the disease was detected at the end of last month. The area has been quarantined to prevent the disease spreading to other areas.
"Growers, packing and processing facilities of host material have been placed under quarantine and eradication initiated in a 25 km2 area surrounding the detection point. Growers within the eradication area will have to apply for permits to remove produce for packing or to move produce outside the area subject to phytosanitary conditions," said DAFF in a statement.
The disease affects fruits like mango, guava, citrus, papaya, apple, pear, apricot, peach, pear, cherry, grapes, passion fruit, pepper, tomato and cucurbits. The government warned that if the disease is not effectively controlled it could result in food insecurity and job losses.
The DAFF also said the community, traders and farmers in the infected area have to seek permit from them before removing fruit from quarantine areas to non-quarantine area.
"International travellers are advised to avoid illegal importation of agricultural commodities into South Africa because this may lead to the introduction of new pests and diseases which are expensive and difficult to manage," it added.
The department said the pest can be controlled by practicing effective field sanitation, chemical control (male annihilation) blocks and protein bait stations or protein bait sprays. It could also be controlled by regulation of the removal of host material from the infested areas non-infested areas.
The oriental fruit fly is an exotic fruit fly native to Asia, previously described in Africa as the invader fruit fly. The government has not announced the possible source of the disease. ■